Aurat March disclosed its ‘Charter of Demands’ for this year and there’s a particular emphasis on healthcare. While it might sound like this revolves around the COVID-19 pandemic, the charter titled ‘Patriarchy Ka Pandemic’ is focusing on women’s healthcare issues.
AURAT MARCH 2021 – CHARTER OF DEMANDS#AuratMarchLahore is thrilled to present it's charter of demands for 2021.
Urdu version: https://t.co/PugDVxDjik
Poster by Maha Adnan. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/NwokEGxM2v
— عورت مارچ لاہور – Aurat March Lahore (@AuratMarch) February 28, 2021
As the global coronavirus outbreak exposed the ineptitude of most healthcare systems, Aurat March is demanding an increase in the 2021-22 fiscal budget for health. They are demanding that 5% of the GDP be set aside for healthcare.
As for where that money is needed the most, the charter outlines and provides information on women’s and transgender community’s reproductive, mental and rehabilitative health.
Additionally, it was requested that a plan to address challenges faced by women and gender minorities be devised, particularly those severely hit by the pandemic crisis. Also calling for gender-based violence to be recognized as a healthcare issue.
Information and Awareness
Since the 18th amendment handed over the healthcare and education spending to provincial governments, Aurat March calls on the provincial governments to release information regarding health budgets dedicated to reproductive health by March 8, 2021. Such information is defined as a ‘public record’ and should be accessible to the public under law.
The Charter of Demands also calls for consent-based, Life Skills Based Education (LSBE) to be introduced in the primary and secondary school curriculum.
LSBE has already a part of the curriculum at Shehzad Roy’s Zindagi Trust run schools. Additionally, he and many other celebs like Waqar Younas and Mahira Khan joined Aahung Trust to campaign for the LSBE curriculum in schools to curb child sexual abuse, a rampant issue across Pakistan.
Zeba Bakhtiar, @TheMahiraKhan, @YounusK75, @nazimhaji join @ZindagiTrust to demand that the govt introduce #LSBE in all schools as the first step to #ProtectOurChildren from abuse. Run successfully at @ZindagiTrust Govt Schools, LSBE by Aahung can prevent a majority of #CSA cases pic.twitter.com/ZYuGeshBLL
— Shehzad Roy (@ShehzadRoy) May 23, 2019
Despite ‘feminism’ and feminist initiatives getting a bad rap in Pakistan, Aurat March campaigns against gender-based issues from access to education to gendered healthcare issues year-round.
However, they are most known for ‘Aurat March’ or ‘Women’s March’ organized each year on International Women’s Day. Men, women, and children gather at these marches to raise their voices demanding freedom from gender-based violence, discrimination, and inequality, issues not limited to women, even though women remain most affected by these social plagues.